Benetton head coach Kieran Crowley

Kieran Crowley to lead Italy at the next World Cup as FIR reshuffle coaching staff

Kieran Crowley has been appointed as the new head coach of Italy, replacing Franco Smith.

Smith took in charge of Italy after the 2019 World Cup and will remain with the FIR (Federazione Italiana Rugby) by moving into the role of head of high performance as part of a reshuffle to Italy’s structure.

In comes Benetton head coach Crowley to take charge of the Six Nations wooden spoon winners. The Kiwi, capped 35 times by the All Blacks in his playing career, has spent the past five seasons at the Treviso-based club and took them to the PRO14 play-offs in 2019-20 – the first Italian club to do so.

“I’m honoured that the FIR have given me the opportunity to lead Italy to the next World Cup,” Crowley said.

“In the five years with Benetton Rugby I’ve been able to learn and understand the country and it’s rugby culture, an understanding which I cannot wait to develop as head coach of the national team.

“We have a talented young generation who have recently had their chance at international level and in the PRO14 and have all the quality necessary to, along with the more experienced members of the squad with whom we will work, the spine of the Italy team for the next cycle.”

Crowley will be joined by Andrea Moretti (from Zebre), who will join as forwards coach with the backroom staff also comprising of Marius Goosen, Corrado Pilat and Giovanni Sanguin.